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Star-San vs. Iodophor - FIGHT!

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Which Sanitizer

  • Star-San

  • Iodophor

  • Other


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yummybeer

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I appreciate the "why fix it if it ain't broke?" philosophy, but the fist piece of advice I would give to a new brewer is to throw away the packet of one-step that came with your kit, and pick up some PBW and Star-San. I honestly can't understand why it is common place to include it in starter kits.

One-Step is an oxygen based cleanser. It will do a decent job of cleaning up some surface organic matter, but it really does not clean or sanitize as you would believe. It does not clean as well as PBW, or sanitize as well as Star-San. It is like the worst of both worlds (or jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none).

I had used one-step for about 6 months - you will be shocked by the improvements you see using a quality cleaner and sanitizer.

Out of curiosity, assuming you bottle condition, do you get a little ring around the neck of your bottles? I had one everytime I used one-step. That little ring (which is a clear visual of a less than sanitary beer) will dissapear using PBW and Star-San.

I don't want to sound like an ass, but because of experience and what I have learned about these products, I would be doing you a disservice in not pointing those things out.

Give it a try - you won't be upset you did.

Joe
thanks for the advice, as said before, i'll stick with what i've been using for over 5 years. by the way, the one-step did not come in a starter kit.
 

agtaylor78

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Personally, I use pure elemental iodine. I work in a laboratory and we have lots to use. I calculated the ppm and fond that with a stock solution of 3.33g/L and a working solution of a cap ful (~20 mL) to 5g I get close to desired concentration of the comercial brand.

Works for me, and my iodine is free. Never had an issue with it at all.

just my 2-cents
 

Dondlelinger

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I have only use starsan so I cant say much about the other. I will say that starsan smells good, is reusable many many times. I have cleaned 120 beer bottles and 5 fermenters with my 1st mixture. You can eat starsan (diluted) if u want. I have never had an infection (that I know of). Its no rinse and the foam is like a second layer of protection + yeast food in 1. I'm very happy with it.
 

edmanster

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I have been going back and forth on my vote for a long time but lately I'm loving the starsan... (don't fear the foam) I've used both going straight from soaking straight into the wort or just drained the keg and racked right on top of a little.. Their both great and it comes down to my brew day for wich one I will use..
 

SixFoFalcon

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Generally I use Iodophor for bottling, & Star-San for everything else.

I keep a spray bottle of Star-San solution (prepared with distilled water) hanging in the kegerator. It's great to be able to spray my keg posts, QDs, and faucets when I'm swapping kegs. It's also great to have on hand when an airlock pops loose or gets gunked up from blowoff--I can just rinse it in the sink with hot water, then spray it down with Star-San solution, and I never have to go through the hassle of mixing up solution "to order" for these little unforeseen projects. If you use distilled or RO water when you prepare it, it lasts over a year (BTDT, checked with pH paper) in solution.

I also use it to clean/sanitize cutting boards, knives, grinder parts, etc. when I'm butchering pigs in a barn that has no running water.

For bottling, I use the "Vinator" spray sanitizer gadget that sits on top of the bottling tree. Star-San foams too much when you are blasting it into 50 bottles in rapid succession. And I worry that it might make the corks too slick when I'm bottling wine. In these cases, it's Iodophor all the way.

Another thing Iodophor has going for it is that while it may stain your soft plastic stuff yellowish, it won't make hoses all gummy and gross if you leave them sitting in the solution overnight. Star-San produces some sort of slime on plastic and makes soft vinyl sticky if you soak it for several hours. Fortunately, there's really no need to soak anything for more than a second or two with Star-San. Just wet it, remove it, and 30 seconds later it's ready to use.

If I had to choose only one sanitizer I guess it would be Star-San, but Iodophor is superior in some cases, so I keep both on hand. :mug:
 
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I use Oxy-San.

It was developed for the Milk Industry, and (apparently) it sanitizes within aprox. 10 seconds of contact. Also, it takes about 1tsp for 1L of H2O, and with 1L I am ALWAYS able to sanitize all of my equip (again - no immersion needed. Just fill bottles/carboy with 1L solution and shake for 15 seconds)

Pros:
10 second contact time,
No-rinse,
No staining,
No Foam,
CHEAP (usually about 4$ for 250 grams)
Safe to handle without gloves etc.
No residue/doesn't stain clothes carpets or counters

Cons:
Powder doesn't dissolve easily
1 year shelf-life (dry)
12 hour sanitizing power (once mixed)
Slight odor

-Tyler
 

MrAverage

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I have both. I use idophor because the instructions on the Star San bottle are too frikkin' small for me to read and I lost my magnifying glass.

stupid reason, I know, but it's the truth!
 

bredstein

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And what is wrong with the bleach? Seems to be cheaper and more effective than anything else. I am a beginner though and may be missing something.
 

raymcgill

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Bleach:
1. Inexpensive, but irrelevant on the scale of cost.
2. Can leave taste: Others don't
3. Stains clothes: others don't - How many shirts/pants does it take to add up to the $5 difference?
4. Multiple steps to use because you HAVE to rinse it.
5. Rinse? With what? The NON SANITIZED tap water???
6. Bleach works. Yes, it does. But I am in this hobby for enjoyment (and beer). Bleach does not make me happy as the other choices.
7. Time: Bleach takes longer to work.

So, I see no good reason to use bleach. Even if its free, its a bad deal. Idophor or star-san or anything equivilent, but not bleach.

Raymond
 

RandomBeerGuy

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I use Iodophor

Pros: Cheap, No rinse, 2 min santize, never had issues since using it
Cons: I dont like how it stains my tubing, I also hate the bottle I seem to always get a little solution to run down the bottle causing a simple mess.

I was using a powder no rinse sani, but it was always slippery and felt like soap scum. With Iodophor it comes back clean. I thought about using star san until I looked at the price tag vs Iodophor. Iodophor is really good stuff from what I was using. I think its just a matter of preference.
 

Lost

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I've had the same jug of starsan concentrate for years. It goes a long way so the cost really isn't that much.

That said, I've also used the bleach and vinegar no rinse successfully when at a friends house.

Bleach will ruin your clothes but it does make an effective no rinse sanitizer.

The danger with bleach is that it will create off flavors at higher than recommended dosages. Mixed correctly it can be used as a no rinse without the risk of off flavors.

Starsan will not give off flavors even when mixed at higher than recommended dosages. Plus it will keep for a long time when mixed with distilled water. I always have a spray bottle of starsan on hand. I would imagine that the bleach based sanitizer would dissipate and become ineffective quite quickly.

I haven't used the iodine based stuff but imagine it would give off flavors at the incorrect dosage, and it too would stain clothes. I don't see much advantage to it over the acidified bleach mixture.
 

jpietraski

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Both work fine, but I'd prefer Star San for convenience.
I like the measurement cup that's part of the Star San container. Kinda like a container of oil for a two-stroke engine.
 

DrDarwin

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I use both, but I prefer Star San for reasons many have mentioned. I will say this though, never let one of those bottles break and spill onto your carpet. What you get is sludge and a hole...
 

SwampassJ

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I use both, but I prefer Star San for reasons many have mentioned. I will say this though, never let one of those bottles break and spill onto your carpet. What you get is sludge and a hole...
It also stains your nice granite counter tops, fooooooorever.
 

bernerbrau

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Bleach ruins clothing.

Star San wrecks countertops.

Iodophor turns EVERYTHING brown.

Moral of the story: watch where you're pouring your damn sanitizer.
 

DrDarwin

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bernerbrau said:
Bleach ruins clothing.

Star San wrecks countertops.

Iodophor turns EVERYTHING brown.

Moral of the story: watch where you're pouring your damn sanitizer.
Truth.
 

zing

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I voted other... but really I meant 'both'

I use starsan for most of my sanitizing, but keep a full bottle of iodophor around to switch it up from time to time (not to mention starch conversion testing). Iodophor was my standard for years, but I switched to using starsan after one too many times re-mixing a spray bottle of sanitizer solution just to check my gravities...every time...

When I brewed pro for a bit, we'd always alternate our sani buckets between iodophor and peracetic acid, and had something like starsan (might've been starsan, actually) we used sparingly when we wanted/needed the foam. I was told the general idea was that in a production environment bugs could build a tolerance...
 

alemonster

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have used both, like star san for the no stains. but would go back to iodophor if need be.
I like using the spray bottle.

mike
 

Zoidberg

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Starsan is definitely a winner here and is what I'll be picking up. I've been using Easy clean but all my beer has been sub-par and I'm trying to eliminate possibilities and I think the lack of real sanitation is the problems.

Iodophor ultimate con:

It could potentially kill me since it is basically Iodine based from what I have read. I'm allergic to iodine, when they filled my blood with Iodine for a blood test I broke out all over and couldn't breath barely because of internal reactions to it.
 

Jackjama

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I use both. I use the idophor to sanitize vessels. Two cap fulls in a bucket that i use to sanitize everything during the brew or bottling days.
I could use starsan but it costs more.

I always have a spray bottle of starsan around for spraying around lids and such. I use distilled water to mix it giving it a very long shelf life.
 

uechikid

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This is an old thread but screw star san. I have been using iodopher for 23 years and NEVER !!!!! had a problem. When these guys brew in plastic buckets and seach the web to copy everyones recipes and techniques all they know is what they are told. I've been a lager brewer forever and you had better not have sanitation problems. The Germans were always the best brewers IMHO. Six refrigerators in the garage brewing a lot of challenging beers I am not even going to try star san. 150 ribbons I don't see the need for starsan or any more ribbons. Just share with the neighbors and enjoy. I see friends using it but I can stand the foam even if you can't taste it. It doesn't belong in my beers !

Cheers to you !:rockin:

Ray
WOOOW!!! :) Not sure what got you going. I can say that I have used both and don't really have a preference. Right now I'm using starsan but I used iodopher for about 15 years before making the change. They both work, they're both easy, I can go either way.. It's all good bro, have a beer.
 

highgravitybacon

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Unless I'm missing something, I don't think Iodophor is cheaper. Its 1.25 ml / liter for iodophor. It's .64 ml / liter for starsan. That puts iodine at 2.3 cents per liter vs 2.1 cents per liter for StarSan. Since the iodophor loses potency within 24 hours, but the StarSan doesn't, you get more use out of a mix. I think at one time, when this thread started, it was cheaper. But the thread dates to 2006.

I even priced Iodophor in bulk at a farm supply store but it wasn't appreciably cheaper and one needed to buy a quart at a minimum.

1 oz / 5 gallon = .64 ml / liter for starsan. I usually make two liters for a 6 gallon carboy, use an insulin syringe or TB syringe which can precisely measure sub-1ml amounts, and put the amount in. The fact that the starsan has a surfactant in it to cling to the crevices, along with a 30 second contact time, saves a lot of time. I also mix it up in a spray bottle with distilled water. Tap water makes it really cloudy in a few hours, but I don't get any cloudiness with distilled.

But to keep the critters on their toes, I will occasionally sanitize with iodine every so often. Might not be any better, but I think of it in a microbiology sense. No starsan resistant microbes then. If that's even possible.
 

scutiger

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I use both, it usually comes down to how I feel on a specific day. I like iodophor because I make up a solution on brew day and can spray down small pieces as I need to. Star san I like to use when I'm getting my carboys or kegs ready. I just don't know which I really prefer. They'e both good, and I've never had a problem with either, I also don't get bothered by the fact that iodine stains my equipment.
 

dvb

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I used to use Iodophor, but switched to Star San because it stains everything. Turns out, that is not the worst problem you can have. Star San tends to leave a slimy coating after extended soaking, which I find a wee bit more annoying than the staining.
 

bethebrew

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WOOOW!!! :) Not sure what got you going. I can say that I have used both and don't really have a preference. Right now I'm using starsan but I used iodopher for about 15 years before making the change. They both work, they're both easy, I can go either way.. It's all good bro, have a beer.
I fear the foam. I use the iodine, partly because the foam makes corks never stick. Slippery. Also unless mistaken iodine is good for you in minimal amounts. Lately I use bottling trees. I shake out the carboys as well. But a trace of iodine, hell that's a nutritional bonus.

Unlike Star-San and the foam. Which by the way I fear a lot.
 

uechikid

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When I use Str-San I fill the carboy about a quarter of the way and gently swirl it around so it doesn't make much foam. Then I gently pour it out in a bucket and reuse it to sanitize other utensils and parts.
 

highgravitybacon

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Got a link? I do. They use the work "iodine" over and over and over.

http://www.hacres.com/pdf/documents/research-Advances_in_Iodine_Nutrition.pdf

No mention of the need for Star-San nutritionally, however.
Yes. Search google for iodide vs. iodine and read any of the 10,000 links. Look, if you want to ingest antiseptic, you don't need me to convince you otherwise. Read about why stores sell iodized salt and what that is. The inky brown stuff used as sanitizer is certainly not good for you. It kills things.
 

Unicorn_Platypus

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I have never had an infection. Below is my practice.

I use Iodophor on anything before primary fermentation. Carboy, siphon, siphon,hoses, blow off tubes. My feeling is before wort is turned into alcohol and the yeast has a chance to blossom there is a greater risk of contamination. I therefore want to use the most potent stuff.

"BTF Iodophor, an iodine based sanitizer, is a powerful, broad spectrum antimicrobial product that kills a wide range of bugs that are waiting to infect your fermentation. Unlike acid based sanitizers, BTF Iodophor reliably kills yeast, mold, fungus, bacteria, viruses and blood borne pathogens."

For kegs and tap lines, I use saniclean. Basically a no foam starsan. Even if a residual amount of this is left in the keg (after purging for closed transfer) there is absolutely no adverse effect in terms of flavor or health risks. Its basically phosphoric acid, and in a small concentration its no worse for you than pepsi.

If a keg or carboy had any kind of yeast that is capable of fementing dextrins (e.g. saison yeast, or brett) then I do an iodine soak after cleaning. Then I use saniclean when I eventually reuse the keg/carboy for my next batch.

I also keep a spray bottle of star san on hand as an on the fly sanitizer. e.g. Spraying keg faucets between uses
 

jtrux

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I use starsan. As far as the foam, if it’s excessive I put about a 1/4 shot of cheep vodka in the carboy, swirl around, dump and foam gone.
 

bleme

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I use Star-San day-to-day but all my kegs/lines/fermentors get an Iodophor treatment at least once a year to kill all the stuff (like wild yeasts) that Star-San isn't effective on.

P.S. Dang Necromancers!
 
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BrewMoo

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I've only ever used Star-san. I just trust the phrase 'Don't fear the foam!' and RDWHAHB.
 

RPh_Guy

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get an Iodophor treatment at least once a year to kill all the stuff (like wild yeasts) that Star-San isn't effective on.
This myth had been floating around for a while.

Star San is a broad spectrum sanitizer and kills both yeast and bacteria.

Use iodophor if you want, but Star San does the job equally well.

There's really no reason to rinse after sanitizing.
Check out the education section from the MASH club minutes. It is a comparison of acid vs iodine.

http://miami-homebrew.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/October-Meeting.pdf
That's pretty misleading and not a good reference. The DBSA is the main active ingredient in Star San. The acid plays a supporting role.

The pH tests they did proved that at normal usage it's well within active pH (under 3) despite their "very basic water".
 
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